• Grads enjoy being in a field where they can make an impact
  • Students benefit from the support and experience of cohorts
  • Learning by doing is part of being at MTSU
  • Classes include opportunities to hear from people in the field

Special Education, M.Ed.

Teachers fulfill unique needs in the lives and development of our younger citizens; for children whose needs go beyond what is usually available in the classroom, the teacher is even more crucial. Students can have a wide range of learning, mental, emotional, and physical disabilities. Teachers make sure that lessons and teaching strategies are changed to meet individual needs. If you have a desire to experience this rewarding challenge, a career in special education can lead to numerous employment opportunities. At MTSU, you can take the important first steps by choosing to major in Special Education in the Department of Elementary and Special Education. The program covers grades K-12 and includes meeting Tennessee requirements for licensure.

Desire to help students more leads to career change

Desire to help students more leads to career change

Working as a speech therapist for seven years led Amy Balch to want to do more for students who have severe disabilities beyond issues with communication. She decided to return to her alma mater and work on an M.Ed. in Special Education with a concentration in Severely/Profoundly Disabled Students. “I wanted to further my knowledge of disabilities in order to help them as best I can,” she recalls. “I feel that I have truly found my passion and my calling. I love special education and can't wait to see where my career goes next!” Balch says she especially liked that most of her classmates were “in the field working and we could come together as professionals and learn from each other.” Balch had many reasons for choosing MTSU: it’s where she earned her B.S. in Communication Disorders; it’s close to Bedford County where she’s worked since 2010; she had heard great things about the program and faculty; and she comes from a family of MTSU grads. She was not disappointed in her decision, stating, “Upon graduating, I have several job opportunities as a special education teacher and I am looking forward to making that career change. I feel that MTSU has fully prepared me to be a successful teacher.”

Combined life experiences pave the path to destination

Combined life experiences pave the path to destination

Although the path to his present position as a K-6 resource teacher at Scales Elementary, Murfreesboro, may seem long, Nathan Lesnak is happy with the destination: “I feel really good about it. I enjoy working in a field where I see results; I feel that I do make an impact.” Lesnak completed his M.Ed. in Special Education with a concentration in Mildly/Moderately Disabled Students in May 2017, but he has taught for several years with a transitional license. “It’s a really good program,” he says, “because you experience a situation in school and then learn about it in the classroom.” Lesnak started out in music and worked for years in the field, but he decided to go back to school. He earned a B.S. at MTSU in psychology and worked as a social worker but was drawn to special ed. “As a child, I struggled with school and got extra help,” he recalls, explaining that his combined experiences and his wife Dimesa’s involvement with special education motivated him to be the person who provides that boost. “Dr. (Zaf) Khan helped and encouraged me with a timeline so that I could stay on track,” Lesnak says. “I recommend this program to anyone who wants to help children with special needs.”

Individuals trained to teach special education bring a desirable range of expertise and creativity to planning and administrative roles. Graduates completing their teacher preparation at MTSU are found in public and private school classrooms throughout Tennessee and in many other states. Educators who studied at MTSU are employed in a variety of settings that include the Tennessee Department of Education and other state agencies, community colleges and universities, Head Start programs, and tutoring services. Graduates are employed in public and private schools and school districts throughout the country as well as in Tennessee.  

Career options include

  • Agency and administrative work
  • Classroom teacher
  • Community and foundation work
  • Consulting, professional development, and teacher training
  • Education marketing and research
  • Education policy development
  • Higher education teaching and administration
  • Job coaching
  • Mental health agency work
  • Private tutoring

Special Education graduates have been employed across the nation as well as in many districts in Tennessee including

  • Anderson County Schools
  • Bedford County Schools
  • Cannon County Schools
  • Carroll County Schools
  • Cheatham Co Schools
  • Coffee County Schools
  • Collierville Christian Academy
  • Crockett County Schools
  • Cumberland County Schools
  • DeKalb County Schools
  • Dickson County Schools
  • Dyer County Schools
  • Fayette County Schools
  • Fayetteville City Schools
  • Franklin Special School District
  • Giles County Schools
  • Grundy County Schools
  • Hamilton County Schools
  • Hardeman County Schools
  • Hickman County Schools
  • Kids Connection
  • Knox County Schools
  • Lawrence County Schools
  • Lebanon Special School District
  • Lewis County Schools
  • Lincoln County Schools
  • Macon County Schools
  • Madison County Schools
  • Manchester City Schools
  • Marion County Schools
  • Marshall County Schools
  • Maury County Schools
  • McNairy County Schools
  • Memphis and Shelby County Schools
  • Metro Action Commission, Nashville
  • Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools
  • Middle Tennessee Christian School, Murfreesboro
  • Montgomery County Schools
  • Moore County Schools
  • Murfreesboro City Schools
  • Perry County Schools
  • Providence Christian Academy, Murfreesboro
  • Robertson County Schools
  • Rutherford County Schools
  • Sequatchie County Schools
  • Sumner County Schools
  • The Webb School, Bell Buckle
  • Trousdale County Schools
  • Tullahoma City Schools,
  • Warren County Schools
  • Wayne County Schools
  • White County Schools
  • Williamson County Schools
  • Wilson County Schools
  • Youth Village Center for Boys

The Department of Elementary and Special Education offers the Master of Education (M.Ed.) degree with major in Special Education and concentrations in Mildly/Moderately Disabled Students and Severely/Profoundly Disabled Students.   

For complete curriculum details, click on the REQUIREMENTS tab above.

Other Programs in the Department

Undergraduate

The Department of Elementary and Special Education offers an undergraduate major, leading to the Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree, in Special Education with a choice between the modified program, K-12 (individuals with mild/moderate disabilities) or comprehensive program, K-12 (individuals with severe/profound disabilities).

Other undergraduate majors offered in the Department of Elementary and Special Education and leading to a B.S. include Early Childhood Education (grades Prek-3) and Interdisciplinary Studies with a choice of teaching levels of grades K–6 or 4–8.

Students wishing to teach in secondary schools must complete a major in the subject they wish to teach and a minor in Secondary Education in the Womack Department of Educational Leadership. Directed teaching and applying for and receiving teacher licensure complete the preparation process.

Graduate

Other M.Ed. programs include a major in Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in Elementary School Education and a specialization in Initial Licensure.

An M.Ed with a major in Literacy is offered.

Graduate minors are offered in Special Education, Reading, and Curriculum and Instruction.

The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Literacy Studies and the Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Assessment, Learning, and School Improvement are available in the College of Education.

Apply now!

Mildly/Moderately Disabled Students Concentration Severely/Profoundly Disabled Students Concentration


Special Education, Mildly/Moderately Disabled Students Concentration, M.Ed.

Zaf Khan, Program Director
(615) 904-8429
Zaf.Khan@mtsu.edu

The Department of Elementary and Special Education offers the Master of Education degree with a major in Special Education and concentrations in Mildly/Moderately Disabled Students and Severely/Profoundly Disabled Students. The Mildly/Moderately Disabled Students concentration leads to 6-12 Interventionist licensure or K-8 Interventionist licensure.

Please see undergraduate catalog for information regarding undergraduate programs.

Admission Requirements

Students seeking admission to the Master of Education program must have an undergraduate GPA of 2.75 or higher or a minimum of twelve hours in special education at the graduate level with a GPA of 3.00 or higher.

Applicants must take the Miller Analogies Test (and obtain a minimum score of 385) or the Graduate Record Exam (obtaining scores on the Verbal and Quantitative measures which normally exceed 146 and 140 respectively [current scale] or 400 [former scale] with a total combined score that normally exceeds 286 [current scale] or 800 [former scale]).

Applicants must have a teaching license in special education for admission to the program in Special Education with a concentration in Mildly/Moderately Disabled Students. Candidates without the appropriate license may be admitted to the graduate program as non-degree-seeking students. Once licensure requirements are met, candidate may reapply for admission to the program in special education. A candidate not licensed in special education may apply for a waiver to the license requirement by signing a waiver form stating that he/she wishes to receive a master's degree in special education without a license to teach.

Application Procedures

All application materials are to be submitted to the College of Graduate Studies.

Applicant must

  1. submit an application with the appropriate application fee (online at www.mtsu.edu/graduate/apply.php);
  2. submit official scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or Miller Analogies Test (MAT);
  3. submit official transcripts of all previous college work.

Degree Requirements

The Master of Education in Special Education with a concentration in Mildly/Moderately Disabled Students requires completion of a total of 33-39 hours for licensure and 33 hours for non-licensure. Candidates must successfully complete a capstone project (e-portfolio) to be taken in the last semester of coursework.

Curriculum: Special Education, Mildly/Moderately Disabled Students (K-8 Interventionist Licensure)

Required Core (9-15 hours)

  • SPED 6020 - Overview of Special Education

    3 credit hours

    Theories and techniques of providing instruction to exceptional individuals. Designed for individuals without prior specialized experience and/or course work in special education. Not for degree credit.

 

  • SPED 6350 - Residency: Directed Clinical Teaching

    3 to 9 credit hours

    Supports and supplements supervised student teaching in a special education resource setting. Directed clinical teaching experience using socratic seminars, reflection, case studies, presentations, classroom observations, discussions, and discourse analysis. Discusses requirements of the edTPA. Candidates will receive support from seminar instructor, cooperating teacher, and supervisor during the student teaching and seminar experience.

  • SPED 6710 - Action Research in Special Education

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: FOED 6610 or equivalent. Presents skills necessary to conduct classroom research for the purpose of improving learning opportunities for diverse learners.

Concentration Courses (18 hours)

  • SPED 5380 - Co-teaching in Inclusive Classrooms

    3 credit hours

    Collaborative and co-teaching models and how to implement them in the inclusive classroom. Emphasizes RTI, collaborative teaching, differentiated instruction, explicit teaching, the affective domain, and accommodations and modifications. Aspects of the CSEFEL model integrated throughout the course. Students develop an understanding of differing educational theories and expand upon them to create their own educational philosophies.

  • SPED 6100 - Differentiation and Literacy: Teaching Corrective Reading and Writing

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: Admission to Teacher Education program. Identifies and implements evidence-based reading interventions and strategies. Incorporates writing deficits; how to identify students with reading disabilities, administer curriculum-based assessments, determine skill level, determine appropriate interventions, assess intervention outcomes, and adjust interventions when needed.

  • SPED 6310 - Issues in Assessment of High Incidence Disabilities

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: SPED 6300. A variety of tests and assessment tools within the various theoretical frameworks they represent. Considers the development of diagnostic batteries based on such tests. Particular attention given to the significance of the theoretical perspectives in selecting and interpreting data collected.

  • SPED 6330 - Theory and Instructional Practice for Students with High Incidence Disabilities

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: Admission to Teacher Education program. A variety of instructional approaches within the various theoretical frameworks from which each evolved. Considers the development and evaluation of IEPs through an integration of learner characteristics, instructional approaches, and educational needs.

  • SPED 6600 - Advanced Math Strategies for High Incidence Disabilities

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: Admission to Teacher Education program. How to identify and implement evidence-based math interventions and strategies in both skill-based and inclusive settings. How to identify math disabilities, conduct curriculum-based math assessments, determine appropriate math interventions, assess the intervention outcomes, and adjust the interventions needed.

  • SPED 6650 - Data, Analytics, and Adaptive Learning

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: Admission to Teacher Education program. Evidence-based interventions and strategies and how to incorporate them into inclusive and skill-based settings. Evaluate research to identify evidence-based practice, implement that practice in daily teaching strategies, and keep current on emerging research studies that evaluate evidence-based strategies for teaching individuals with disabilities. The importance of analyzing outcomes of specific strategies or interventions and adjusting certain aspects in order to best individualize the learning of each student.

Restricted/Specialized Electives (6 hours)

  • SPED 5300 - Advanced Applied Behavioral Interventions and Supports

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisites: Admission to Teacher Education program; SPED 4240. The study of modifying student behavior using techniques of applied behavior analysis in a variety of educational settings. Candidates will research and discuss multiple techniques that improve behaviors in various environments. Positive reinforcement, evidence-based progress-monitoring tools, and assessment methods emphasized.

  • Digital Tools and Methods in Flexible Learning Environments 3 credit hours

NOTE:

*SPED 6710 only required of candidates seeking non-licensure.
NOTE: All candidates seeking licensure in K-8 must fulfill all admission requirements to the Teacher Education Program.

Curriculum: Special Education, Mildly/Moderately Disabled Students (6-12 Interventionist Licensure)

Required Core (9-15 hours)

  • SPED 6020 - Overview of Special Education

    3 credit hours

    Theories and techniques of providing instruction to exceptional individuals. Designed for individuals without prior specialized experience and/or course work in special education. Not for degree credit.

 

  • SPED 6350 - Residency: Directed Clinical Teaching

    3 to 9 credit hours

    Supports and supplements supervised student teaching in a special education resource setting. Directed clinical teaching experience using socratic seminars, reflection, case studies, presentations, classroom observations, discussions, and discourse analysis. Discusses requirements of the edTPA. Candidates will receive support from seminar instructor, cooperating teacher, and supervisor during the student teaching and seminar experience.

  • SPED 6710 - Action Research in Special Education

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: FOED 6610 or equivalent. Presents skills necessary to conduct classroom research for the purpose of improving learning opportunities for diverse learners.

Concentration Courses (18 hours)

  • SPED 5380 - Co-teaching in Inclusive Classrooms

    3 credit hours

    Collaborative and co-teaching models and how to implement them in the inclusive classroom. Emphasizes RTI, collaborative teaching, differentiated instruction, explicit teaching, the affective domain, and accommodations and modifications. Aspects of the CSEFEL model integrated throughout the course. Students develop an understanding of differing educational theories and expand upon them to create their own educational philosophies.

  • SPED 6100 - Differentiation and Literacy: Teaching Corrective Reading and Writing

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: Admission to Teacher Education program. Identifies and implements evidence-based reading interventions and strategies. Incorporates writing deficits; how to identify students with reading disabilities, administer curriculum-based assessments, determine skill level, determine appropriate interventions, assess intervention outcomes, and adjust interventions when needed.

  • SPED 6310 - Issues in Assessment of High Incidence Disabilities

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: SPED 6300. A variety of tests and assessment tools within the various theoretical frameworks they represent. Considers the development of diagnostic batteries based on such tests. Particular attention given to the significance of the theoretical perspectives in selecting and interpreting data collected.

  • SPED 6330 - Theory and Instructional Practice for Students with High Incidence Disabilities

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: Admission to Teacher Education program. A variety of instructional approaches within the various theoretical frameworks from which each evolved. Considers the development and evaluation of IEPs through an integration of learner characteristics, instructional approaches, and educational needs.

  • SPED 6600 - Advanced Math Strategies for High Incidence Disabilities

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: Admission to Teacher Education program. How to identify and implement evidence-based math interventions and strategies in both skill-based and inclusive settings. How to identify math disabilities, conduct curriculum-based math assessments, determine appropriate math interventions, assess the intervention outcomes, and adjust the interventions needed.

  • SPED 6650 - Data, Analytics, and Adaptive Learning

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: Admission to Teacher Education program. Evidence-based interventions and strategies and how to incorporate them into inclusive and skill-based settings. Evaluate research to identify evidence-based practice, implement that practice in daily teaching strategies, and keep current on emerging research studies that evaluate evidence-based strategies for teaching individuals with disabilities. The importance of analyzing outcomes of specific strategies or interventions and adjusting certain aspects in order to best individualize the learning of each student.

Restricted/Specialized Electives (6 hours)

Choose the following if seeking licensure; otherwise, courses should be selected with consent of advisor.

  • SPED 5240 - Methods and Techniques of Behavior Management

    3 credit hours

    Overview of various approaches to behavior management. Application of various approaches in different special education settings. Basis of evaluation of various behavior change techniques.

  • SPED 5370 - Transition Education and Services for Exceptional Learners

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: Admission to Special Education: Modified program or permission of department. Addresses the knowledge and skills needed to develop and implement effective transition planning from school to adult life. Offers preparation for successful transition from elementary grades, career preparation education, and eventual transition to adult life. Explores a variety of tools, supports, and classroom strategies for creating successful transitions in preparation for adult life.

NOTE:

*SPED 6710 only required of candidates seeking non-licensure.
NOTE: All candidates seeking licensure in 6-12 must fulfill all admission requirements to the Teacher Education Program.

Program Notes

Any course requiring admission to Teacher Education may require observations, case studies, or other time in K-6 classes.

Candidate must

  1. file a degree plan in the College of Graduate Studies prior to completion of 21 semester hours credit;
  2. file a Notice of Intent to Graduate form in the College of Graduate Studies within the first two weeks of the term in which the student intends to graduate.

Master's in Special Education-Non-Licensed

Persons who do not hold a license in special education but wish to work toward a master's degree in special education with a concentration in Mildly/Moderately Disabled Students may ask for an exception to the license prerequisite. This would allow the individual to complete a master's degree, but the degree would not lead to licensure. Persons who complete this degree will not be licensed to teach special education upon completion of the degree.


Special Education, Severely/Profoundly Disabled Students Concentration, M.Ed.

Thomas Black, Program Director
(615) 898-2321
Thomas.Black@mtsu.edu

The Department of Elementary and Special Education offers the Master of Education degree with a major in Special Education and concentrations in Mildly/Moderately Disabled Students and Severely/Profoundly Disabled Students. The Mildly/Moderately Disabled Students concentration leads to 6-12 Interventionist licensure or K-8 Interventionist licensure.

Please see undergraduate catalog for information regarding undergraduate programs.

Admission Requirements

Students seeking admission to the Master of Education program must have an undergraduate GPA of 2.75 or higher or a minimum of twelve hours in special education at the graduate level with a GPA of 3.00 or higher.

Applicants must take the Miller Analogies Test (and obtain a minimum score of 385) or the Graduate Record Exam (obtaining scores on the Verbal and Quantitative measures which normally exceed 146 and 140 respectively [current scale] or 400 [former scale] with a total combined score which normally exceeds 286 [current scale] or 800 [former scale]).

Applicants must have a teaching license in special education for admission to the Special Education with a concentration in Severely/Profoundly Disabled Students program. Candidates without the appropriate license may be admitted to the graduate program as non-degree-seeking students. Once licensure requirements are met, the candidate may reapply for admission to the program in special education. A candidate not licensed in special education may apply for a waiver to the license requirement by signing a waiver form stating that he/she wishes to receive a master's degree in special education without a license to teach.

Application Procedures

All application materials are to be submitted to the College of Graduate Studies.

Applicant must

  1. submit an application with the appropriate application fee (online at www.mtsu.edu/graduate/apply.php);
  2. submit official scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or Miller Analogies Test (MAT);
  3. submit official transcripts of all previous college work.

Degree Requirements

The Master of Education in Special Education with a concentration in Severely/Profoundly Disabled Students requires completion of a total of 33-39 hours. Candidates must successfully complete a written comprehensive examination to be taken in the last semester of coursework (may be taken no more than twice).

Curriculum: Special Education, Severely/Profoundly Disabled Students

 Candidate must complete the following course of study:

Required Core (9 hours)

 

  • SPED 6020 - Overview of Special Education

    3 credit hours

    Theories and techniques of providing instruction to exceptional individuals. Designed for individuals without prior specialized experience and/or course work in special education. Not for degree credit.

  • SPED 6710 - Action Research in Special Education

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: FOED 6610 or equivalent. Presents skills necessary to conduct classroom research for the purpose of improving learning opportunities for diverse learners.

Concentration Courses (18 hours)

  • FOED 6610 - Analysis and Application of Educational Research

    3 credit hours

    Qualitative and quantitative research applicable to the field of education. Both producers and consumers of educational research with a literature review presented to support possible solutions to significant hypotheses or problems.

  • SPED 6410 - Characteristics and Teaching of Learners with Low Incidence Disabilities

    3 credit hours

    In-depth survey for professionals who will work with school age students who receive services in Special Education in one or more of the categories characterized as low incidence. Emphasis on cognitive, motor, social, communicative, behavioral, and physical characteristics of this population. Advanced methods and techniques for instructing low incidence populations.

  • SPED 6910 - Developmental Assessment

    3 credit hours

    Evaluative and diagnostic instruments, environmental assessments, and other procedures used with very young and/or multiple disabled individuals.

  • SPED 5370 - Transition Education and Services for Exceptional Learners

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: Admission to Special Education: Modified program or permission of department. Addresses the knowledge and skills needed to develop and implement effective transition planning from school to adult life. Offers preparation for successful transition from elementary grades, career preparation education, and eventual transition to adult life. Explores a variety of tools, supports, and classroom strategies for creating successful transitions in preparation for adult life.

  • SPED 5380 - Co-teaching in Inclusive Classrooms

    3 credit hours

    Collaborative and co-teaching models and how to implement them in the inclusive classroom. Emphasizes RTI, collaborative teaching, differentiated instruction, explicit teaching, the affective domain, and accommodations and modifications. Aspects of the CSEFEL model integrated throughout the course. Students develop an understanding of differing educational theories and expand upon them to create their own educational philosophies.

Restricted/Specialized Electives (9 hours)

To be selected with consent of advisor or the following if seeking licensure:

  • SPED 5240 - Methods and Techniques of Behavior Management

    3 credit hours

    Overview of various approaches to behavior management. Application of various approaches in different special education settings. Basis of evaluation of various behavior change techniques.

  • SPED 5260 - Problems in Special Education A-Z

    1 to 3 credit hours

    A problem-oriented course, on or off campus, planned and designed for individuals, a school faculty, school system, or other professional groups that will provide opportunities for pre- or in-service education related to assessed needs. Not more than 6 semester hours credit in independent study (SPED 6840) and/or problems (SPED 5260) can be applied toward a degree or licensure.

  • SPED 5280 - Assistive Technology in Special Education

    3 credit hours

    Introduces students to adaptive/assistive technologies. The technologies will range from low-tech to high-tech and apply to the needs of school-aged students with disabilities. Includes assessing and supporting needs through the delivery of adaptive/assistive technologies.

Note:

Note for initial licensure students: Additional coursework may be required in math and/or reading following a detailed transcript evaluation for students seeking initial teaching licensure in special education.

Program Notes

Any course requiring admission to Teacher Education may require observations, case studies, or other time in K-6 classes.

Candidate must

  1. file a degree plan in the College of Graduate Studies after having completed 21 semester hours credit;
  2. file a Notice of Intent to Graduate form in the College of Graduate Studies within the first two weeks of the term in which the student intends to graduate.

Special Education Master's-Non-Licensed

Persons who do not hold a license in special education but wish to work toward a master's degree in Special Education with a concentration in Severely/Profoundly Disabled Students may ask for an exception to the license prerequisite. This would allow the individual to complete a master's degree but the degree would not lead to licensure. Persons who complete this degree will not be licensed to teach special education upon completion of the degree.

For more information, contact:

Linda Copciac
Executive Aide
Room 314 I, College of Education Building
(615) 898-5016
Linda.Copciac@mtsu.edu

MT One Stop
Phone: 615-898-2111
Fax: 615-904-8423
MTOneStop@mtsu.edu

MTSU College of Graduate Studies
Voice: 615-898-2840
Fax:   615-904-8020
graduate@mtsu.edu

Miller’s Analogy Test Information
www.registerblast.com/mtsu
Register and call Testing Services at 615-898-2863 to make an appointment.

Contact and Student Information

Mildly/Moderately Disabled Students

Dr. Zaf Khan
Zaf.Khan@mtsu.edu
615-904--8429

Severely/Profoundly Disabled Students

Dr. Thomas Black
Tom.Black@mtsu.edu
615-898-2321

Mildly/Moderately Disabled Students

Dr. Zaf Khan
Zaf.Khan@mtsu.edu
615-904--8429

Severely/Profoundly Disabled Students

Dr. Thomas Black
Tom.Black@mtsu.edu
615-898-2321

Elementary and Special Education Department
Middle Tennessee State University
MTSU Box 69
1301 East Main Street
Murfreesboro, TN  37132

MTSU College of Graduate Studies

Provides innovative, interdisciplinary programs and allows students to work in a collaborative envir... [more]

MTSU Campus Tour

From the acclaimed academic programs and state-of-the-art facilities to MTSU campus life and our thr... [more]